Marketplace: new listing categories start rolling-out

I’ve covered the recent focus by the Commerce Team on enhancing Marketplace listing categories, particularly with reference to the contest held in November to encourage feedback on the subject (and which had the winners recently announced).

As of December 20th, the Commerce Team has updated the proposed listing categories to reflect feedback received to date started rolling-out some of the new categories, although it is still not to late for people to have input.

The new Christmas sub-categories
The new Christmas sub-categories

The first two categories to receive updates are:

  • Celebrations / Holidays / Christmas, which gets the following sub-categories:
    • Crhistmas Lights
    • Christmas Trees & Ornaments
    • Men’s Seasonal Apparel
    • Women’s Seasonal Apparel
  • Celebrations / Wedding, which gets the following sub-categories
    • Wedding Decorations
    • Wedding Dresses
    • Wedding Rings
    • Wedding Tuxedos

(Bridesmaid’s dresses is also supposed to be in the Celebrations / Wedding category, but at the time of writing is AWOL from the Marketplace).

In announcing the new sub-categories, the Commerce Team have requested that any further inpute to the new listings should be made no later than January 10, 2013 – so if you do have specific ideas or comments on what is being proposed and haven’t passed them to the Lab, now is the time to do so!

Sadly, no update on the status of ongoing Marketplace issues prior to the Christmas break.

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Going all Blue Goo-ey over the forums

I don’t actually use the SL forums that much in terms of posting; my visits are more a case of diving into things like the technology and Commerce sub-forums, reading those threads which interest me and then buggering off again. Ergo, what I’m about to post here is liable to be very old news to a lot of forumites, and I apologise if this is the case, but as the saying goes, there’s no news like old news (or something like that…).

The issue with the default SL forum layout for many people … OK … one of the issues with the SL forums, because there are many, is that of general presentation / readability. It is not exactly easy-on-the eye for some, and while people have the option of having their own nice forum badges, these get semi-obliterated by icons and additional information not everyone is particularly interested in and can have problems with names being legible where dark colours are used in the badge.

To overcome this, Cerise Sorbet “recently” wrote a CSS theme for community.secondlife.com which can be used to replace the default theme, together with some additional snippets, all of which are aimed at improving the presentation / readability of the forums.

And by “recently”, I mean “early 2011” – yes, I’m on the ball here, folks…

The Blue Goo theme replaces the default forum theme with a set of muted colours which are designed to enhance the readability of the forum pages and which, at the same time, takes care of some formatting issues.

The default forum page presentation (top) and Blue Goo (bottom)
The default forum page presentation (top) and Blue Goo (bottom)

The code snippets also do much to improve the appearance of badges in forum posts, by adding a level of transparency to user names in badges, and by converting the additional information (number of posts / topics, the “bowling pin” icon”) so it is only displayed on a mouse-over. An additional CSS snippet adjusts the layout to suit 1024-pixel displays.

The optional badge CSS snippets: (l) - my badge as original displayed; (c) with the transparency added to my nae; (r) with the additional information coverted to appear when the mouse is over my badge
The optional badge CSS snippets: (l) – my badge as original displayed; (c) with the transparency added to my name; (r) with the additional information converted to appear when the mouse is over my badge

The theme and the CSS snippets can be used individually or together in any combination – so you can install all of them to present yourself with a complete “new look” forum display, or you can take things like the badge updates and add them to the default forum theme.

For those using Firefox or Chrome, the CSS code can be installed directly using Stylish. Greasemonkey can also be used for Chrome, and options are provided (as far as possible to enable installation on other browsers via the Blue Goo download page. Gavin Hird also provides assistance for Safari users in getting the theme working on the Mac.

As I’m a Firefox user, installation was a breeze: install the Stylish add-on, then click the theme / snippet buttons to install them as required. The same was true for Chrome, which I also have installed as an alternative for when Firefox throws the occasional fit. Once installed, the options are easy to control via the Stylish icon, which allows any of them to be instantly disabled / enabled, so no worries about installing something and finding you don’t actually like it – simply turn it off. Stlish also provides a number of other options as well for managing themes (and can be used on almost any site which allows for user-generated themes and options).

How it looks on individual replies: (t) a default forum post reply; (b) with blue goo enabled
How it looks on individual replies: (t) a default forum post reply; (b) with Blue Goo enabled

Related Links

With thanks to Cerise Sorbet for Blue Goo and snippets and to Darrius Gothly for pointing me to the theme back in November. Apologies to both for not giving a write-up sooner.

A walk in the snow, an expresso and a slice of Cheeky Tiramisu

Watchtower is a sim which can change to suit the seasons. Right now, given the time of year, it has a winter / seasonal feel to it, with snow heavy on the ground and lights strung among the trees, making it an ideal stopping-off point for those seeking quiet seasonal scenes.A full region, Watchtower is largely open to the public and offers plenty of opportunities for exploration – although there are private homes in the sky, and visitors are asked to respect privacy aloft.

Cheeky Tiramisu, Watchtower
Cheeky Tiramisu Cafe, Watchtower

The region is home to the Cheeky Tiramisu Cafe, which offers paths to follow, a bonfire by which you can warm your hands, boats to take out on the water and a “library grotto” where you can cosy up in the warm.

Water is very much a part of this region at the moment – another reason why I’m drawn back to it right now – with waterways separating several of the parcels, making the boats available at the landing near the cafe a worthwhile trip.

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Cheeky Tiramisu Cafe, Watchtower

Across one stretch of water from the cafe is a watermill, marking the location of Yasyn Azemus’ store (1200 metres overhead). Yasyn built the cafe and is often landscaping the region. He makes a wide range of products which are sold through his store, including hair, shapes, skyboxes – so a visit while exploring the region is well worth the trip up there as well. For those feeling stressed there is also a game of whack-a-mole for tension relief.

Also across the water sits Nykio’s Home – the house is open to the public, who are welcome to make themselves at home, but again, please respect her privacy when it comes to her house in the sky.

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Nykio’s Home, Watchtower

There is a windlight for the region, but with the auorae lighting the sky to the north and south, I like wandering through it with a night setting on my viewer; to me this enhances the atmosphere of the region and, right now with all the snow on the ground, gives it a very romantic feel – ideal if you are exploring with a close friend or loved one.

Follow the path away from the cafe and you’ll eventually find your way down to the library grotto – a wonderful retreat to snuggle, chat and to watch the world go by. South facing, this currently has its very own aurora in the sky for those inside – or sitting out by the bonfire – to enjoy.

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Cheeky Tiramisu Cafe, Watchtower

Not all the land in the region is developed, but all of the parcels are open to wandering, so there are lots of opportunities to roam and take snaps and simply enjoy your surroundings. The Cafe itself is a great place for meeting people; such is the ambience of the region that many pop-in for a sit down when they’re on-line, so you can generally be sure of meeting someone while sitting and admiring the view. It’s also a great place to walk back to once you’ve finished your meanderings as well; you can always be sure the expresso machine is on and a reviving shot of rich black coffee is just a touch away.

So why not sit awhile and enjoy a cup with friends – and help yourself to a slice of Cheeky Tiramisu?

Related Links

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Cheeky Tiramisu Cafe, Watchtower